Henry Irving (1838-1905), the first actor to be knighted, dominated the theatre in Britain and beyond for over a quarter of a century. As an actor, he was strikingly different with his idiosyncratic pronunciation, his somewhat ungainly physique, and his brilliant psychological portrayals of virtue and villainy. He was also the director of spectacular, and commercially driven, entertainments and as the manager of the Lyceum theatre, he controlled every aspect of the performance.
First published in 2008, this collection of essays by leading theatre scholars explores each element of Irving’s art: his acting, his contribution to the plays he commissioned, his flair for the stage picture, and his ear for incidental music. This book will be of interest to those studying the history of theatre.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Tables; List of Musical Examples; Notes on Contributors; Acknowledgements; Introduction Richard Foulkes; 1. The Chief and his Champion: Irving and J. L. Toole Michael Read 2. ‘He Danced, He Did Not Merely Walk – He Sang, He By No Means Merely Spoke’: Irving, Theatricality and the Modernist Theatre Jim Davis 3. Ellen Terry and Henry Irving: A Working Partnership Katharine Cockin 4. The Lyceum and the Lord Chamberlain: The Case of Hall Caine’s Mahomet Kristan Tetens 5. Embodiment of the King: Henry Irving’s King Arthur Doug Kirshen 6. Sins of the Fathers: Dostoevsky and the Murders of Henry and Laurence Irving Laurence Senelick 7. Irving and his Scenic Artists Jeffrey Richards 8. ‘Henry and 250 Supers’: Irving, Robespierre and the Staging of the Revolutionary Crowd Jean Chothia 9. Serenade in a Gondola: Music and Interpolated Action in Irving’s Production of The Merchant of Venice Stephen Cockett 10. Arthur Sullivan’s Incidental Music to Henry Irving’s Production of Macbeth Kenneth DeLong 11. The Matter with Irving: Bernard Shaw and Irving Reconsidered L. W. Conolly; Bibliography; Index